We all remember it. Last June at the close of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Magic close out the series and instead of shaking the hand of Dwight Howard, Orlando’s Super(man)star, LeBron James walks off the court. More than 8 months later, Peyton Manning gives the same whiff to his counterpart and Super Bowl XLIV champion and MVP, Drew Brees.
These teams played hard for every winding second. These superstars poured their sweat and blood into these high-magnitude post-season games. Doesn’t the winning superstar deserve the respect and admiration from their counterpart? Most called LeBron and Peyton sore losers and believe they should have sucked it up and shook Dwight’s and Drew’s hands. Well, I have to disagree – and before you think I’m a sore loser for siding with them, here’s why I feel this way:
Every athlete that takes the hardwood, field, pitch, whatever – has that fire within them that’s got them to this level of play. Then you have LBJ, Peyton, and a slew of other athletes that are on a different level of play – and more times than not, they have a competitive nature within them that cannot be matched. They fight and strive to be better every single minute that they play the game.
LeBron is constantly learning, coaching, studying. Peyton is no different and can always be seen reviewing the previous drive’s plays on the sidelines. I emphasize this because when they do lose, they’re far from happy. They’re angry at themselves and know they could’ve won and make sure that they don’t go through that again.
Then comes the biggest games of the season. The ones that will either lead you to a championship or send you home and watching from your couch. So when LeBron and Peyton lost these big games, I felt for them. I didn’t think of them as sore losers or cry babies. I thought of them as highly competitive athletes who are 1 – human and 2 – going through a huge amount of pain after these losses. I’m competitive by nature and may be biased in my thoughts, but am I wrong?
Do we not owe them the ability to spend this tough time alone in their locker room? Are they bad role models for their (non) actions? What are your thoughts?